Richard-Belzer-law-order-svu

Thesp has played the offbeat detective since 'Homicide' began in 1993

After 230-plus episodes, Richard Belzer is bowing out as a series regular of “Law & Order: SVU” as of next week.

Belzer’s well-traveled character, Sgt. John Munch, a detective in the NYPD’s special victims unit, will transition to a role as an investigator with the District Attorney’s office in the Oct. 16 episode of “SVU.”

The gangly actor has become synonymous with the quirky gumshoe who began as a character created by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson for NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1993. After “Homicide” wrapped its run at the end of the 1998-99 season, the character immediately segued to “SVU” in its first season. The character had already done guest shots on “Law & Order” in 1996 and 1997.

Belzer has also done guest shots as Munch on a range of other shows, from comedies “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Arrested Development” and “30 Rock” to HBO’s “The Wire” and UPN’s “The Beat.”

The actor could not immediately be reached for comment on the change in his status on “SVU.”

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